• NCR rules Palarong Pambansa anew

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    SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, ANTIQUE: The National Capital Region (NCR) capped its total domination of the 2017 Palarong Pambansa with convincing wins in the secondary boys and girls basketball and secondary boys football events here.

    With the overall championship already in the bag even midway of this weeklong competition, the Big City added more golds on its gold-medal collection as the eight-man NCR squad, bannered by the core of the Chiang Kai Shek College of coach Goldwin Monteverde, walloped Western Visayas, 75-48, in the finals at the Evelio B.

    Central Visayas added to the woes of the dethroned champion Calabarzon with a 77-71 win in their bronze-medal encounter. NCR’s secondary girls also bagged the gold with a 57-32 win over Negros Island. Western Visayas settled for the bronze.

    Not to be outdone were the NCR booters, made up of the core of Claret School, who scored a 3-1 win over Western Visayas, in their gold-medal match at the Binirayan Sports Complex football field.

    Shanden Vergara had a brace for NCR while Keith Absalon opened the scoring for the Big City in the eighth minute. Johnny Toledo, Jr. scored the lone for the host region in the 57th minute.

    Calabarzon edged Negros Island, 2-1, in their bronze-medal game. Central Visayas nipped Western Visayas, 1-0, in the elementary boys finals.

    But Calabarzon, bannered by De La Salle Lipa core, pulled the rug under NCR in the secondary girls finals, pulling off a come-from-behind 19-25, 11-25, 25-16, 25-16, 15-9 thrilling win at St. Anthony College gym here. Western Visayas took the bronze.

    Calabarzon’s win in secondary girls volleyball catapulted them to second place in the overall standings, slightly three gold medals ahead of host region Western Visayas.

    NCR mustered 98 golds, 66 silvers and 45 bronzes followed by Calabarzon (41-57-57), Western Visayas (38-29-40), Negros Island (26-27-36), Soccsksargen (26-22-35), Cordillera Administrative Region (26-21-21), Davao (22-25-24), Northern Mindanao (20-20-42), Central Visayas (20-18-29), Central Luzon (15-18-28), Bicol (9-18-34), Cagayan Valley (7-15-14), Ilocos (7-12-21), CARAGA (7-12-15), Eastern Visayas (7-5-18), Zamboanga Peninsula (5-0-17), Mimaropa (2-8-7) and ARMM (1-4-4).
    In secondary girls softball, Negros Island came from behind to beat NCR, 5-4, to win the gold. Central Luzon took the bronze medal. In elementary girls, Centra Visayas won over Negros Island, 5-4, while Central Luzon booked the bronze.

    Calabarzon downed NCR in secondary boys finals, 6-3, to take the gold. Central Visayas settled for the bronze medal.

    As expected, NCR captured the overall championship for the 13th straight year, hardly getting any threat from the 17 regions in this weeklong competition attended by more than 12,000 student athletes and officials.

    The Big City banked in its strong showing in swimming (24 golds) and gymnastics (33) and also had a lion share of gold medals in table tennis and taekwondo.

    Swimmer Maurice Sacho Ilustre emerged as the most bemedalled athlete in the pool with seven gold medals, four in record-breaking performances.

    The De La Salle Zobel tanker ruled the 400-m freestyle, 200-m butterfly (record),100-m freestyle (record), 100-m butterfly and 200-m freestyle (record) and 400-m medley (record) and 400-m freestyle relay to go seven-for-seven anew in this annual meet.

    “I’m very happy I was able to repeat. I just gave my best to get my goals,” said Ilustre, who also get some help from teammates Jerald Jacinto and Nicole Pamintuan in the medal-rich swimming competition.

    Twelve finals records were shattered in the pool, four from ilustre. Davao and Western Visayas surprisingly had six golds each in swimming while Calabarzon, usually a powerhouse in the pool, had only five gold medals to show although it had 13 silvers and 15 bronzes.

    Karl Jahrel Eldrew Yulo (five golds), Joseph Reynaldo (four), Anya Mikhel Feraren (six), Lucia Gabriel Gutierrez (six) and Hannah Lalaine Perez (five) led NCR’s surge in the gymnastics event that offered 37 golds.

    The Big City athletes also got six golds in athletics, which was ruled by host region Western Visayas with 17 gold medals.

    Six records were broken in athletics with Calabarzon’s Veruel Verdadero emerging as the most accomplished athlete in tracks with five gold medals.

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